Dinner with New Friends

April 26th, 2012

I don’t often mention it but we have a rental cottage on our property.  When we decided to add a second story to the cottage we knew that we would need a place to live for an extended period of time.  We first had our contractor build a garage for us with an apartment above it.  David and I lived there for two years while the cottage was reconstructed.   We now rent it out on a short term basis from April to the end of October.  I have a link for it on my side bar.

Last year we had a great couple from Iowa staying there for a week while they looked for a place of their own in the Lake Lure area.  They have found a piece of property and are building a log cabin.  You can imagine that supervising a construction from Iowa is not an easy task.  They are back staying in our guest cottage this week.

We have had a dilemma.  We will be on our trip to France for three weeks in June.  I hate to board our dog Daisy for that length of time.  Plus, who would look after our rentals?  Light Bulb Moment!  Tom and Diana need to be here as much as possible and they need a place to stay.  They have agreed to stay in our cottage, manage the guest cottage rentals, take care of our dog and supervise the construction of their own cabin.  They have a dog named Lucy.  Lucy and Daisy like each other.  Perfect solution.

We invited them to dinner Tuesday night to discuss the logistics.  We enjoy their company and look forward to them moving here when their cabin is finished.  But in the meantime, our minds are at ease about being gone for such a long time.

Dinner was Beef Bourguignon, mashed potatoes, Provencal green beans, yeast rolls and this Apple Crostata from Ina Garten.  You can almost never go wrong with one of the Barefoot Contessa’s recipes.  The recipe in Barefoot Contessa Parties!  calls for doubling the pastry amount so that you can tuck one in the freezer for a future crostata.  Guess you know what you are having for dessert Saturday night Penny and K.  Yes, my blogging buddy Penny of The Comforts of Home and hubby will be here for dinner then.



2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 pound very cold unsalted butter, diced
1/4 cup ice water


1 1/2 pounds McIntosh, Macoun, or Empire apples
1/4 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated or superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1/2 stick), diced

For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Add the butter and toss quickly with your fingers to coat each cube of butter with the flour.  Pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas.  With the motor running, add the 1/4 cup of ice water all at once through the feed tube.  Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough comes together.  Turn the dough out onto a well-floured board and form into 2 disks.  Wrap with plastic and refrigerate one of the disks for at least an hour.  Freeze the rest of the pastry.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on a lightly floured surface.  Transfer it to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

For the filling, peel., core and quarter the apples.  Cut each quarter into 3 chunks.  Toss the chunks with the orange zest.  Cover the tart dough with the apple chunks, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.  Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly.  Pour into a bowl and rub it with your fingers until it starts holding together.  Sprinkle evenly on the apples.  Gently fold the border over the apples, pleating it to make a circle.

Bake the crostata for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the apples are tender.  Let the tart cool for 5 minutes, then use 2 large spatulas to transfer it to a wire rack.

Printable recipe

12 responses to “Dinner with New Friends”

  1. LOL! Well, I was just thinking as I was reading this how wonderful that crostata sounded….yummy! Can’t wait.

  2. Kate says:

    Sounds like a win win situation! How wonderful for you. You are right, you really can’t go wrong with Ina’s recipes. The costata looks tasty!

  3. That apple crostata would convince me to manage your cottage and take care of Daisy while you were gone. Someone was watching over you.

    We made quite a few wonderful friends with our rental in the islands and still exchange Christmas cards and see them occasionally. It’s fun when you find people you have things in common with and get along well.

  4. These sound like really nice people, Penny! I’m glad it is all working out for you. We are always in a pickle when we go somewhere as we have the 2 dogs and a parrot. It all works out though.

    The dessert looks awesome! Have a great time Saturday night!


  5. Penny, I am wonderfully happy to have found your inspiring blog! I have just spent way too much time here enjoying your scrumptious posts!
    I am so happy that you posted this apple crostata. Mine does not look quite like that!!!! I’ll give this recipe a try.

    In a previous post you talked about a book… Plate to Pixel. Helene did a superb job teaching the concepts of light and form. I use it as a reference often!

    I am intrigued by your lighting set-up for food photography! I need to get a metalic reflector. I would love to learn more.

    I am a new follower, you are very inspiring!

  6. I’ve been making Ina’s apple crostada ever since her book came out with the recipe. My favorite! I have all her cookbooks by the way. Love Ina.

  7. Big Dude says:

    Isn’t it great to have a light bulb moment and a perfect plan comes together. Your dinner sounds fabulous – looks like you’re practicing to eat French. Hope to see you guys in a month.

  8. Pondside says:

    It’s lovely when everyone’s needs are met in such a convenient way. Lucky guests to dine at your table!

  9. Eileen says:

    Dinner sounds heavenly! And what a great solution, too, regarding your trip. Have a wonderful time.

  10. Karena says:

    Penny you have worked out the perfect solution for the Guest House!

    Oh and the apple crostini looks delish!

    The 2012 Artist Series featuring Designer and Paper Artist Anita Rivera…on my site, please stop by! Her work is amazing!

    Art by Karena

  11. grace says:

    i do love a crostata–so rustic! i’ve never seen one with a crumble topping, but it’s a marvelous idea!

  12. Rita says:

    Sometimes life does that Penny; the perfect time for that perfect solution. Your crostata is right up my alley; saving this one. Your trip to France is around the corner; how exciting.

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